The object of the Society for the Maintenance of the Faith, founded in 1873, is ‘to promote and maintain catholic teaching and practice within the Church of England’.
The Society seeks to fulfill this object principally through acquiring and exercising patronage (the right to present priests to the relevant bishop for appointment as rector or vicar). It is currently the patron of 96 benefices (sole patron of 36 and joint patron of another 60).
A resolution under the House of Bishops’ Declaration on the Ministry of Bishops and Priests is in force in 24 of the 96 benefices. Where no resolution is in force, appointments are open not only to male priests ordained by bishops in the historic succession but also to women and to men whose orders derive from the ordination of women to the episcopate.